Peet creates an explosive world where love is frowned upon and the past has bloody teeth and bad breath. It’s a world that demands deep examination and thought, and Peet has done a splendid job of creating it.
—Booklist (starred review)
Peet’s brilliant, ambitious novel bridges the years between World War II and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, but at its heart is a star-crossed affair set during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Recommend this memorable novel to mature teen readers, and if you can wrest away a copy, read it yourself.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
This is mesmerizing through the sheer force and liveliness of its prose, as well as its unpredictable, inexorable plot. Peet’s gift for imagery makes the novel fizz with the intensity of an adolescent’s heightened perceptions-in which everything is alive, and even boredom is an all-engrossing activity. Place, period, and adolescent passion all come through with exuberant feeling and humor; Peet’s subtle, literary play with narrative voice, style, and chronology make this a satisfyingly sophisticated teen novel. Outstanding.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Sophisticated teens and adults will appreciate this subtle yet powerful exposition of the far-reaching implications of war.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Remarkable work of historical fiction…War is the backdrop, but the heart of the story is the forbidden love affair between middle-class Clem and Frankie Mortimer…This title would be an ideal choice for a multi-generational book discussion, and will very likely have adult crossover appeal.
The story is beautifully told and Peet is masterful in his ability to combine history with a family’s story, a bold move on his part, but his writing, combined with the stories of this family, make it difficult to put down.
—Library Media Connection (highly recommended)
A reminder that labeling a work as "YA" is often, well, arbitrary. Peet may put young people at the center of his fiction, but his work is so spectacular that it can- and should-be savored by readers of all ages…If you’d like to give a young person this novel, do yourself a favor: Read it first!
Peet has once more produced a winner: a subtle, minutely observed novel with a huge heart and a bold historical sweep.
—The Guardian (UK)
All I wanted to do was tear home, grab the book and start reading it again, this time to savor the language, ponder the connections and howl at the moon.
—Bookends (Booklist blog)
LIFE: AN EXPLODED DIAGRAM is a unique and profound look at how a multigenerational family survives war time.
An outstanding example of what truly astounding literature should be.